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Leopards pick up first win

December 16, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Not that it was a thing of beauty, but Bill Fowkes will certainly remember his first victory as coach of the Smithsburg girls.

The Leopards set aside 36 percent shooting and 31 turnovers to turn back St. Maria Goretti on Monday night, 49-36.

"A win is a win ... we have to start somewhere," Fowkes said after Smithsburg punched into the win column after three losses.

Coupled with Goretti's 24 percent shooting and a 32-turnover outing, the Leopards used an early first-period run and a pair of runs in the second half to stave off the Gaels.

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"We just need to feed off this win," Fowkes said. "We've started the year with some quality opponents so I am optimistic about what we can do this season."

Tara Bywaters put up 27 shots from the field and hit nine, ending with a game-high 22 points. Smithsburg's inside presence of 5-foot-10 Tara Knable added 15 points, including eight at the outset of the final period when Goretti had closed the deficit to nine points.

"We talked at halftime about picking up Goretti's pressure, recognizing it and getting the ball inside," Fowkes said.

Goretti's only lead of the game was 3-2 at the 5:01 mark of the first period when J.D. Nye knocked down a 3-pointer. From that point on Smithsburg went on a 16-0 run, seven from Bywaters.

However, Goretti fought back from a 25-12 deficit when Jessica Myers knocked down back-to-back conventional 3-point plays in the final two minutes of the half.

"At that point we are back in the game, but we couldn't cut down on the mistakes," Goretti coach Todd Rideout said.

Smithsburg scored the first seven points of the third period for a 32-18 advantage, and after Goretti cut it back to nine at the end of the quarter, Knable went to work, feeding off passes from point guard Shannon Fowkes in transition.

"We'll be a good team when everyone gets on the same page," Fowkes said. "Shannon did a good job with nine assists and Teonna (Jewell, eight points) came in and helped take the pressure off Shannon."

The Gales (4-3) tried to hang tough, but their turnovers invariably came at inopportune times that Smithsburg cashed in on.

"Fowkes broke our press a lot and Knable hurt inside," Rideout said. "But we've got two freshmen and a sophomore that are learning. They just need to avoid the mental mistakes."

Tasha Daneen, one of two returning vets for Goretti, led the Gaels with 12 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. The other experienced player, Katie Martin, had seven points and nine boards as Goretti held its own with Smithsburg on the boards.

Bywaters and Knable each collared 10 rebounds for the Leopards.

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